Uganda's President on the Gadhafi he knows
Gadhafi and Museveni
March 28th, 2011
11:23 AM ET

Uganda's President on the Gadhafi he knows

Editor’s Note: Yoweri Museveni has served as the President of Uganda for the past 25 years, during which time he has interacted repeatedly with Col. Moammar Gadhafi. For a profile of Museveni, click here. The unedited article below solely expresses the views of President Museveni.

By Yoweri Museveni, President of Uganda

By the time Col. Muammar al-Gadhafi came to power in 1969, I was a third-year university student at Dar-es-Salaam in Tanzania. We welcomed his rise because he was a leader in the tradition of Col. Gamal Abdul Nasser of Egypt who had a nationalist and pan-Arabist position.

Soon, however, problems cropped up with Gadhafi as far as Uganda and black Africa were concerned:

Backing Idi Amin: Idi Amin came to power in 1971 with the support of Britain and Israel because they thought he was uneducated enough to be used by them. Amin, however, turned against his sponsors when they refused to sell him guns to fight Tanzania. Unfortunately, Gadhafi, without first getting enough information about Uganda, jumped in to support Idi Amin. He did this because Amin was a "Muslim" and Uganda was a "Muslim country," where Muslims were being "oppressed" by Christians. Amin killed a lot of people extrajudicially, and Gadhafi was identified with these mistakes.

In 1972 and 1979, Gadhafi sent Libyan troops to defend Amin when we [the Uganda National Liberation Front] attacked him. I remember a Libyan Tupolev Tu-22 bomber trying to bomb us in Mbarara in 1979. The bomb ended up in Nyarubanga, Burundi, because the pilots were scared. They could not come close to bombing their intended target properly. We had already shot-down many of Amin's MIGs using surface-to-air missiles. Our Tanzanian brothers and sisters were doing much of this fighting. Many Libyan militias were captured and repatriated to Libya by Tanzania. This was a big mistake by Gadhafi and a direct aggression against the people of Uganda and East Africa.

Pushing for a United States of Africa: The second big mistake by Gadhafi was his position vis-à-vis the African Union (AU), where he called for a continental government "now." Since 1999, he has been pushing this position. Black people are always polite. They, normally, do not want to offend other people. This is called obufura in the Runyankore language, or mwolo in Luo - handling, especially strangers, with care and respect. It seems some of the non-African cultures do not haveobufura. You can witness a person talking to a mature person as if he or she is talking to a kindergarten child. "You should do this; you should do that; etc." We tried to politely point out to Gadhafi that continental governance was difficult in the short and medium term. We should, instead, aim at the Economic Community of Africa and, where possible, also aim at Regional Federations.

But Gadhafi would not relent. He would not respect the rules of the AU. Topics or discussions that had been covered by previous meetings would be resurrected by Gadhafi. He would "overrule" a decision taken by all other African heads of state. Some of us were forced to come out and oppose his wrong position and, working with others, we repeatedly defeated his illogical position.

Proclaiming himself king of kings: The third mistake has been the tendency by Gadhafi to interfere in the internal affairs of many African countries, using the little money Libya has compared to those countries. One blatant example was his involvement with cultural leaders of black Africa - kings, chiefs, etc. Since the political leaders of Africa had refused to back his project of an African government, Gadhafi, incredibly, thought that he could bypass them and work with these kings to implement his wishes. I warned Gadhafi in Addis Ababa that action would be taken against any Ugandan king who involved himself in politics, because it was against our Constitution. I moved a motion in Addis Ababa to expunge from the records of the AU all references to kings (cultural leaders) who had made speeches in our forum, because they had been invited there illegally by Colonel Gadhafi.

Ignoring the plight of Southern Sudan: The fourth big mistake was made by most of the Arab leaders, including Gadhafi to some extent. This was in connection with the long suffering people of southern Sudan. Many of the Arab leaders either supported or ignored the suffering of the black people in that country. This unfairness always created tension and friction between us and the Arabs. However, I must salute Gadhafi and President Hosni Mubarak for travelling to Khartoum just before the referendum in Sudan, during which time they advised President Omar al-Bashir to respect the results of that exercise.

Terrorism: Sometimes Gadhafi and other Middle Eastern radicals do not distance themselves sufficiently from terrorism, even when they are fighting for a just cause. Terrorism is the use of indiscriminate violence - not distinguishing between military and nonmilitary targets. The Middle Eastern radicals, quite different from the revolutionaries of black Africa, seem to say that any means is acceptable as long as you are fighting the enemy. That is why they hijack planes, use assassinations, plant bombs in bars, etc. Why bomb bars? People who go to bars are normally merrymakers, not politically minded people.

We were together with the Arabs in the anticolonial struggle. The black African liberation movements, however, developed differently from the Arab ones. Where we used arms, we fought soldiers or sabotaged infrastructure but never targeted noncombatants. These indiscriminate methods tend to isolate the struggles of the Middle East and the Arab world. It would be good if the radicals in these areas could streamline their work methods in this area of using violence indiscriminately.

These are some of the negative points in connection to Gadhafi as far as Uganda's patriots have been concerned over the years. Each of these positions taken by Gadhafi have been unfortunate and unnecessary.

Nevertheless, Gadhafi has also had many positive points, objectively speaking. These positive points have been for the good of Africa, Libya, and the Third World.

I will deal with them point by point:

Gadhafi is a nationalist: Gadhafi has conducted an independent foreign policy and, of course, also independent internal policies. I am not able to understand the position of Western countries, which appear to resent independent-minded leaders and seem to prefer puppets. Puppets are not good for any country. Most of the countries that have transitioned from Third World to First World status since 1945 have had independent-minded leaders: South Korea (Park Chung-hee), Singapore (Lee Kuan Yew), China People's Republic (Mao Tse Tung, Chou Enlai, Deng Xiaoping, Marshal Yang Shangkun, Li Peng, Jiang Zemin, Hu Jintao), Malaysia (Dr. Mahthir Mohamad), Brazil (Luis Inacio Lula da Silva), Iran (the Ayatollahs Khomeini and Khamenei), etc. Between World War I and World War II, the Soviet Union transitioned into an industrial country, propelled by the dictatorial but independent-minded Joseph Stalin. In Africa, we have also benefited from a number of independent-minded leaders: Colonel Nasser of Egypt, Mwalimu Nyerere of Tanzania, Samora Machel of Mozambique, and others. That is how southern Africa was liberated. That is how we got rid of Idi Amin. The stopping of genocide in Rwanda and the overthrow of Mobutu Sese-Seko in the Democratic Republic of the Congo were as a result of efforts of independent-minded African leaders.

Gadhafi, whatever his faults, is a true nationalist. I prefer nationalists to puppets of foreign interests. Where have the puppets caused the transformation of countries? I need some assistance with information on this from those who are familiar with puppetry.

By contrast, the independent-minded Gadhafi had some positive contributions to Libya, I believe, as well as Africa and the Third World. Take just one example: At the time we were fighting the criminal dictatorships here in Uganda, we had a problem arising of a complication caused by our failure to capture enough guns at Kabamba on Feb. 6, 1981. Gadhafi gave us a small consignment of 96 rifles, 100 anti-tank mines, etc., that was very useful. He did not consult Washington or Moscow before he did this. This was good for Libya, for Africa, and for the Middle East. We should also remember as part of that independent-mindedness the fact that he expelled British and American military bases from Libya.

He raised the price of oil: Before Gadhafi came to power in 1969, a barrel of oil was 40 American cents. He launched a campaign to withhold Arab oil unless the West paid more for it. I think the price went up to $20 per barrel. When the Arab-Israel war of 1973 broke out, the barrel of oil went up to $40. I am, therefore, surprised to hear that many oil producers in the world, including the Gulf countries, do not appreciate the historical role played by Gadhafi on this issue. The huge wealth many of these oil producers are enjoying was, at least in part, due to Gadhafi's efforts. The Western countries have continued to develop in spite of paying more for oil. It therefore means that the pre-Gadhafi oil situation was characterized by super exploitation of oil producing countries by the Western countries.

Gadhafi built Libya: I have never taken the time to investigate socio-economic conditions within Libya. When I was last there, I could see good roads, even from the air. From the TV pictures, you can even see the rebels zooming up and down in pick-up trucks on very good roads accompanied by Western journalists. Who built these good roads? Who built the oil refineries in Brega and those other places where the fighting has been taking place recently? Were these facilities built during the time of the king and his American and British allies, or were they built by Gadhafi?

In Tunisia and Egypt, some youths immolated themselves because they failed to get jobs. Are the Libyans without jobs also? If so, why are there hundreds of thousands of foreign workers? Is Libya's policy of providing so many jobs to Third World workers bad? Are all the children going to school in Libya? Was that the case in the past - before Gadhafi? Is the conflict in Libya economic or purely political? Possibly Libya could have transitioned more if they encouraged the private sector further. However, this is something the Libyans are better placed to judge. As it is, Libya is a middle income country with a GDP of $62 billion.

He's a moderate: Gadhafi is one of the few secular leaders in the Arab world. He does not believe in Islamic fundamentalism, which is why Libyan women have been able to go to school, to join the army, and so forth. This is a positive point on Gadhafi's side.

Coming to the present crisis, therefore, I need to point out some issues:

First, we must distinguish between demonstrations and insurrections. Peaceful demonstrations should not be fired upon with live bullets. Of course, even peaceful demonstrations should coordinate with the police to ensure that they do not interfere with the rights of other citizens. However, when rioters are attacking police stations and army barracks with the aim of taking power, then they are no longer demonstrators; they are insurrectionists. They will have to be treated as such. A responsible government would have to use reasonable force to neutralize them. Of course, the ideal responsible government should also be one that is elected by the people at periodic intervals. If there is a doubt about the legitimacy of a government, and the people decide to launch an insurrection, that should be the decision of the internal forces. It should not be for external forces to arrogate themselves that role; often, they do not have enough knowledge to decide rightly.

Excessive external involvement always brings terrible distortions. Why should external forces involve themselves? That is a vote of no confidence in the people themselves. A legitimate internal insurrection, if that is the strategy chosen by the leaders of that effort, can succeed. The Shah of Iran was defeated by an internal insurrection; the Russian Revolution in 1917 was an internal insurrection; the Revolution in Zanzibar in 1964 was an internal insurrection; the changes in Ukraine, Georgia, and so forth - all were internal insurrections. It should be for the leaders of the resistance in a given country to decide their strategy, not for foreigners to sponsor insurrection groups in sovereign countries.

I am totally allergic to foreign, political, and military involvement in sovereign countries, especially the African countries. If foreign intervention is good, then, African countries should be the most prosperous countries in the world, because we have had the greatest dosages of that: the slave trade, colonialism, neo-colonialism, imperialism, etc. But all those foreign-imposed phenomena have been disastrous. It is only recently that Africa is beginning to come up, partly because we are rejecting external meddling. External meddling and the acquiescence by Africans into that meddling have been responsible for the stagnation on our continent. The wrong definition of priorities in many African countries is, in many cases, imposed by external groups. Failure to prioritize infrastructure, for instance, especially energy, is, in part, due to some of these pressures. Instead, consumption is promoted. I have witnessed this wrong definition of priorities even here in Uganda. External interests linked up, for instance, with bogus internal groups to oppose energy projects for false reasons. How will an economy develop without energy? Quislings and their external backers do not care about all this.

Second, if you promote foreign backed insurrections in small countries like Libya, what will you do with the big ones like China, a country with a system different from the Western system? Are you going to impose a no-fly zone over China in case of some internal insurrections, as happened in Tiananmen Square, in Tibet, or in Urumqi?

Third, Western countries always use double standards. In Libya, they are very eager to impose a no-fly zone. In Bahrain and other areas where there are pro-Western regimes, they turn a blind eye to the very same or even worse conditions. We have been appealing to the United Nations to impose a no-fly zone over Somalia - so as to impede the free movement of terrorists linked to al Qaeda, which killed Americans on September 11th, killed Ugandans last July, and have caused so much damage to the Somalis - without success. Why? Are there no human beings in Somalia, as there are in Benghazi? Or is it because Somalia does not have oil that is not fully controlled by the Western oil companies, as in Libya on account of Gadhafi's nationalist posture?

Fourth, the Western countries are always very prompt in commenting on every problem in the Third World - Egypt, Tunisia, Libya, etc. Yet, some of these very countries were the ones impeding growth in those countries. There was a military coup d'état that slowly became a revolution in backward Egypt in 1952. The new leader, Nasser, had ambitions to oversee the transformation of Egypt. He wanted to build a dam not only to generate electricity but also to help with the ancient irrigation system of Egypt. He was denied money by the West because they did not believe that Egyptians needed electricity. Nasser decided to raise that money by nationalizing the Suez Canal. He was attacked by Israel, France, and Britain. To be fair to the United States, President Eisenhower opposed that aggression that time. Of course, there was also the firm stance of the Soviet Union at that time. How much electricity was this dam supposed to produce? Just 2000 megawatts - for a country like Egypt!! What moral right, then, do such people have to comment on the affairs of these countries?

Fifth, the by-now-entrenched habit of the Western countries over-using their technological superiority to impose war on less developed societies, without impeachable logic, will ignite an arms race in the world. The actions of the Western countries in Iraq and now Libya are emphasizing that might is "right." I am quite sure that many countries that are able to will scale up their military research, and in a few decades, we may have a more armed world. Weapons science is not magic. A small country like Israel is now a superpower in terms of military technology. Yet 60 years ago, Israel had to buy second-hand Fouga Magister planes from France. There are many countries that can become small Israels if this trend of Western countries overusing military means continues.

Sixth, all this notwithstanding, Col. Gadhafi should be ready to sit down with the opposition, under the mediation of the AU, with the opposition cluster of groups which now includes individuals well known to us. I know Gadhafi has his system of elected committees that convene to form a National People's Conference. Actually, Gadhafi thinks this is superior to our multi-party systems. Of course, I have never had time to study how truly competitive this system is. Anyway, even if it is competitive, there is now, apparently, a significant number of Libyans who think that there is a problem in their country's governance. Since there has not been internationally observed elections in Libya, not even by the AU, we cannot know what is correct and what is false. Therefore, a dialogue is the correct way forward.

Seventh, the AU mission was unable to enter Libya because the Western countries started bombing the day before they were supposed to arrive. However, the mission will continue. My opinion is that, in addition to what the AU mission is doing, it may be important to call an extraordinary summit of the AU in Addis Ababa to discuss this grave situation.

Eighth, regarding the Libyan opposition, I would feel embarrassed to be backed by Western war planes. Quislings of foreign interests have never helped Africa. We have had a copious supply of them in the last 50 years - Mobutu Sese-Seko, Houphouet Boigny, Kamuzu Banda, etc. The West has made a lot of mistakes in Africa and in the Middle East in the past. Apart from the slave trade and colonialism, they participated in the killing of Patrice Lumumba, until recently the only elected leader of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, the poisoning of Cameroonian political leader Felix Moummie, and the assassination of Prime Minister Bartholomew Boganda of the Central African Republic. The West supported UNITA in Angola, Idi Amin - at the beginning of his regime - in Uganda, and the counter-revolutionaries in Iran in 1953. Recently, there has been some improvement in the arrogant attitudes of some of these Western countries. Certainly, with black Africa and, particularly, Uganda, the relations are good following the fair stand the West has taken on the fate of the black people of southern Sudan. With the democratization of South Africa and the freedom of the black people in southern Sudan, the difference between the patriots of Uganda and the Western governments had disappeared. Unfortunately, these rash actions on Libya are beginning to raise new problems. They should be resolved quickly.

Ninth, if the Libyan opposition groups are patriots, they should fight their war by themselves and conduct their affairs by themselves. After all, they easily captured so much equipment from the Libyan Army, why do they need foreign military support? I only had 27 rifles. To be puppets is not good.

Tenth, as to the international community, the African members of the Security Council voted for this resolution on Libya. This was contrary to what the Africa Peace and Security Council had decided in Addis Ababa recently. This is something that only the extraordinary AU summit can resolve. It was good that certain big countries in the Security Council - Russia, China, Brazil, and India - abstained on this resolution. This shows that there are balanced forces in the world that will, with more consultations, evolve more correct positions.

Eleventh, and finally, being members of the United Nations, we are bound by the resolution that was passed, however rushed the process. Nevertheless, there is a mechanism for review. The Western countries, which are most active in these rushed actions, should consider that route. It may be one way of extricating all of us from possible nasty complications. What if the Libyans loyal to Gadhafi decide to fight on? Using tanks and planes that are easily targeted by French President Nicolas Sarkozy's planes is not the only way of fighting. Who will be responsible for such a protracted war? It is high time we did more careful thinking.

soundoff (225 Responses)
  1. Anthill

    Dear World:
    1. Conspiracy theories – we love them. We are passionate about them. We believe them, no matter how outlandish. Conspiracy theories resonate with us, just like magic, and prevent us from making sense of the world. Here's the thing – the majority of conspiracy theories are false (are you listening 3rd world?). Try this – scepticism. Believe nothing at first, and remember: reality is stranger than fiction. Don't get emotionally attached to curious stories from strangers or government propaganda or your 14 year old cousin.
    2. The blame game. Oh how we love to blame others. It makes us feel justified. Shift blame as a solution for any problem. Blame the West, blame the East, North and South. Blame him, blame her. Its always somebody else's fault. Never ours. The CIA was responsible. The Americans are behind everything. The Russians. Burn their flag to make yourself feel better. Scream and gesticulate at the smouldering symbol of your perceived foe. Try this – start by looking inward: blame yourself or your own personal dictator or fanatical religious leader. Only then look outward.
    3. Critical Faculty. We all know everything. Take a distorted and incorrect view of history way out of context. Draw any conclusion. Make faulty assumptions. Harbour biases. We can't deny it – our critical faculty is sadly lacking. Try this: Think openly, question everything. Learn history first, recite later. That way no need to blame – the facts will speak for themselves.

    March 29, 2011 at 4:04 pm | Reply
  2. Steve

    Interesting article, I have joined the US Peace Corps and will be assigned to Uganda this August. This viewpoint helps boost my confidence of integrating into their society, and I look forward to learning about their culture.

    March 29, 2011 at 4:20 pm | Reply
    • QS

      Considering that Uganda is one of many countries that evangelicals have been going to for years, spreading their hate of gay people via their religious beliefs, I don't think it will seem all that different than certain places in the U.S. really; and if you happen to fall on the side of the conservative ideology, you should find it relatively easy to integrate.

      March 29, 2011 at 4:58 pm | Reply
  3. minellimu

    Museveni as spewed his nonsense as usual. Museveni you are not in a position to judge Ghadafi, however crazy he may be. CNN please do not honor this dictator with a platform to blame the west for problems that are perpetuated by him. I certainly hope Museveni would be the next one to go.

    March 29, 2011 at 4:57 pm | Reply
  4. test

    Why Yoweri Museveni omitted to speak about Laurent Gbabgbo in his long noisy analysis,
    or because Watara is a Moslum?

    March 29, 2011 at 8:02 pm | Reply
  5. Stephen

    The president of Uganda sounds like Ron Paul, from Texas. I agree with most of his opinions too. While slavery has been a sourge of mankind since the dawn of time, I disgaree with the presdient, with respect, that slavery was a Western idea. Western countries did exploit slaves for the colonies, and African tribes traded in slaves, from wars, and sold those slaves from coastal cities. It took courage, of those opposed to slavery, including many white men and women, to end the legal trade in slaves. Of course, slavery continues to exist world-wide, illegally in most counties.

    March 29, 2011 at 9:11 pm | Reply
  6. Fearfighter1

    Let's get back to basics. We are all pretty much screwed Mr President if the consciousness of mankind does not change drastically in a better manner for our world and all it's inhabitants...I find it Irony that nature creates just about everything in a circular motion or pattern but mankind only create square/rectangle...It would seem we have a problem connecting with our true nature. How then do any of us possess the knowledge to run the world.

    March 29, 2011 at 10:31 pm | Reply
  7. jussy

    Musevene is a dictator having sleepless nights because he is going to be next. being in power for over 25yrs.

    March 29, 2011 at 11:03 pm | Reply
  8. Eric

    @Yoweri Museveni
    Dude, you're next.

    25 years a "President"? How can you still call yourself 'president'? How many people have you jailed to maintain power? How many have you killed? A better question might be, how many have Gadhafi killed for you? An how stable would your leadership be without Gadhafi's henchmen?

    Yes, the future is scary, begin the transition to real democracy now. You might actually be remembered well if you do. maybe.

    March 30, 2011 at 12:21 am | Reply
    • KakaJ

      I think to quote from the Holy Bible, 'We have all transgressed and fallen short of the glory of The Lord'. How many innocent souls have America, France, Britain, etc killed in order to be where they are? How many blacks perished in the slave trade by the so called current champions od democracy? And these fellows have not made any apologies or reparations for these ills??

      I think we all have a stake in the future of this world, not only a few self-proclaimed 'champions of democracy & human rights'. A fresh start is needed – and all must be heard!

      March 30, 2011 at 6:12 am | Reply
      • mombasa

        Stop living in the past KAKAj.. you must move on and make your live better. we do not need an apology from westerner. Did china wait for an apology from Japan. No. can yoy japan go to china and meddle in their business? no. We live in a jungle.. Work hard and make yourself better. What has museveni done to better the life of Ugandans? His is the head of his special forces that protects him? is brother is a mercenary. Dont be ignorant, my friend. we need to stand to those weak minded leaders like museveni. He will leave no history after him. None. 25 years? come on, you should hate that kindof behaviors. how many american presidents has museveni dealt with? Reagan, Bush I, Clinton, Bush II, Now Obama. thats 5 prez. and How much has america grown since those 5 presidents? A lot. Uganda? you tell me the answer. Museveni has a complex, low selfesteem. I feel sorry for the people of uganda, But I love them. and Make sure he doesnt die as a president. you will suffer for a long time just like R D Congo, Ivory coast etc...

        March 30, 2011 at 12:39 pm |
  9. James

    On events in Libya,the West is only intervening because they want oil not to save civilians.Just like they did in Iraq.Being zimbabwean i now doubt the sincerity of the West.When Rhodesians killed us in thousands in the full glare of the Western media,the West never bothered with 'no fly zones'.Why? Because we do not matter to them but only our gold,diamonds etc matter to them.When black South Africans were killed in the streets of Sharpeville, The West did not intervene because black people were the ones dying.The West now sees it fit to talk about 'human rights' 'democracy' in Zimbabwe just because Mugabe has decided to correct colonial inbalances.Africa will continue to have squabbles as long as the West do not respect African lives and value only white people.

    March 30, 2011 at 4:34 am | Reply
  10. KakaJ

    Mr Museveni,

    I fully agree with your brilliant analysis of the Libyan situation. I wish the western power leaders would be honest with themselves, and tell the world their REAL objective of their military intervention in Libya..

    In addition, I have this to add this: in my own analysis, and in agreement with your observation about the apparent 'The mighty have the way' doctrine of the western powers,
    1. It increasingly clear that the western countries are slowly but syrely losing control and influence on/in Middle East
    2. As some extremist elements take over political & military power in these Middle east countries, Israel appears certainly isolated. My fear is, Israel being a nuclear power, might resort to use of nuclear arms in order to preserve itself, as some of these extremist elements have vowed to wipe it off the face of the globe. And as other countries join the fray, a nuclear war may break out sooner than later.
    3. The voices of the AU should not be ignored, because in future, AU may again be required by the AU to recognise the 'new' government in Libya
    4. There should be balanced and objective reporting on the matter by especially the western press: why is the killing of 'civilians' in Libya ONLY attributed to Gadaffi's army? Are the bullets and bombs of the Libyan nsurgents and the coalition forces so technologically advanced that they can see and therefore avoid civilians?? Let no one be fooled, all the protagonists in this war are KILLING civilians! The difference may only be in numbers.
    5. Propped up governments do not serve the interests of the citizens of those countries, but of their masters. And it is clear, the insurgents in Libya expect someone out there to fight the war for them and not themselves – I was amazed to hear one insurgent fighter cry out as they were being attacked that, ' where is Sarchozy? Where is Obama? Have they slept?'
    6. I am concerned about the open access policy to arms in Libya. has any one posed to think what is going to happen in the future with everyone having arms? Where is the guarantee that these arms won't be misused? Where is the guarantee that very wrong elements are not seizing the opportunity to arm themselves? I hope you all saw and are seeing what is happening in Yemen! Unknown elements driving away military tanks and artillery pieces from an ammunition depot!
    7. Finally, I can say that, when the dust finally settles down, and the wars in Middle East are over, America and the western countries will still remain ENEMY NUMBER ONE of the extremist governments in the Middle East!!

    March 30, 2011 at 5:18 am | Reply
  11. Edward Sevume

    There are many good points raised by the president of Uganda. Indeed, when it comes to fighting puppetry, he knows better because he has just done that. Puppetry though can be internal too. It is the internal puppetry of tribal loyalty that leads to the imbalances of power and as the saying goes, even leads to the economic imbalances perpetrated by favoring certain tribes before others. Maintaining the status quo has been done by force though elections are held at certain times. It is indeed this imbalances that ferments discontent in the populace that Mr Museveni fought. Against Idi Amin and against Obote! Sad to say and witness, a great man of this stature could end up repeating the same mistakes that we have gone through in Africa. Look, we pile all our problems on colonialists. In one way it is true that some of the problems do emanate from colonialism. But as Mr President you once put it and shocked the world, some of the problems are home grown and you have attacked them head on. Credibility in this begins at home and it is really important that we look at the way governance is practiced in Africa. May we should do these things:
    1. Move from the petty politics of favoring one tribe against the other! Give all those who inhabit a territory the same opportunities. With this, you remove marginalization and distrust among the populace.
    2.See to it that the main needs of the population are met. This means a good infrastructure in form of roads, good administration with all positions open to all, schools open to all etc. Do it on the platform of "it benefits all and not only my tribe"
    3.Decide on how long a president should stay in power. Two mandate periods should be the limit. I see advantages in this. Democracy is not going to be based on one person but revolve on the thought that no person carries the truth for ever, but that truth evolves and while we are progressive and have great ideas to move the nation, there are others who can take on the task given the fact that they take the notion of national interest at heart. Besides, giving up a position shows how generous we are, believing that among us there are other gentlemen and women able bodied and with intelligence to carry on the mantle.
    4. It is not negative to work with all countries of the world on the basis of partnership. Though Mr Museveni is right on this, the west has always had a wrong notion of going to help when there are interests involved. And this is not naive as nations pursue foreign policies on the basis of interest. But, in our case, Uganda, we should be open to this even when we are well aware of our history where our territory has been a platform for the struggle of different political interests from abroad. This we should always talk about candidly.
    5. When fighting a dictator, Mr Museveni knows it well that you can have a good organization and some arms. But without big backers, you do not get any where. And when you do, the battle gets protracted. Uganda did it. We got the help of our brothers from Tanzania, otherwise we could not have been able to dislodge Idi Amin. The same applies to the people of Libya who have had 40 years of monopolized polity, a monopoly of ideas! They need help. They do not have surface to air missiles, they do not have helicopters, they lack organization. Of-course the help of Mr Museveni and his wisdom in this would be beneficial because I know, we indirectly fought this man when he did send soldiers to help the regime of Idi withstand.
    6. Uganda changed with Mr Museveni. With Mr Museveni as president Uganda has enjoyed huge though sometimes varied proportions of freedom and economic growth. This is great and we should build on it to always do better as the South Koreans did. That means being true to one´s values and being dedicated to the values of democracy for all!

    March 30, 2011 at 5:48 am | Reply
  12. Fred Kitimbo

    It was very interesting reading President Museveni castigating foreign intervention in a sovereign state. When he captured state power in 1986, among the very first words he spoke in an OAU summit was to castigate the then continental body for failure to intervene in Uganda, when Idd Amin was massacring Ugandans.

    Indeed Museveni himself was very happy to take cover under the Tanzanian invasion of Uganda in 1979, an invasion that finally toppled dictator Idd Amin. Museveni also sought and received weapons from Kaddafi which he used to topple the military junta in Uganda in 1986. Then he saw foreign military assistance to oust a dictatorship as being good and necessary, but not now in Libya!

    As one writer here has correctly put it, the truth is that this is an article of a dictator who is afraid he could be next in line. In five years time, he would have ruled Uganda for three decades, through elections that the international community has repeatedly found not be free and fair. Just like Kaddafi, Museveni’s son Maj. Muhozo Kaineruganba is the head of the elite Special Forces that keep Museveni in power. Maj. Muhozi Kaineruganba was himself directly promoted to the rank of Major by Col. Kaddafi on a state visit here, who then also told Museveni never to quit power, saying that “Revolutionaries never tire or retire”!

    The West should not be fooled by this type of propaganda from by African dictators who now are simply too afraid of the Libyan precedence.

    Fred Kitimbo,
    Kampala, Uganda.

    March 30, 2011 at 6:33 am | Reply
  13. Izak

    Thank you President Museveni for this insight. I fully agree with the double standards of certain western countries, and their meddling in the affairs of african countries.

    March 30, 2011 at 6:59 am | Reply
    • kanyoka

      All points of double standards are now useless. right something that I can read and understand, dont find excuses of double standards

      March 30, 2011 at 8:37 am | Reply
  14. HowdyDoo

    Like the saying goes.... You are damned if you do. You are damned if you don't. It's a double edge sword when people speculate whether its right or wrong to meddle in other countries (not just African ones) business. If the UN doesn't help they get criticize for letting an atrocity happen while people yell "it's not your fight don't meddle in a countries business" if they do. I see lives being saved, but Mr. Howdy Doo they are their for oil and personal interest etc etc... Of course UN countries have interest to protect Libya, it is an oil producing country that supplies UN countries so their countries can look out for their individual nations. It's all speculation to say their priority is oil first. Africa is renowned to have government leaders benefit themselves and not benefit the nation and their people if you need examples just go through an African History book and read it. If you are bringing a county together then how can one side of the country belong under one leadership (Khadafi) and another be for a opposition leader (Mahmoud Jibril)? Seems like to me somebody wants to hold power and by any means necessary with an actual military against poorly equipped opposition. And of course Khadafi's weapons/technology and tactics are way better than US weapons and tactics for minimizing civilian casualties (thats sarcasm).

    March 30, 2011 at 8:41 am | Reply
  15. Hardyman3

    Yeah, America is really concerned with oppressed people. Except when they live in Israel, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Yemen, Syria, etc. etc. Invading Libya is something we've done before (don't forget the Marine song's ' the shores of Tripoli...') and painting any militarism in the hues of "democracy" and "freedom" and all that other preposterous nonsense we don't believe is just SOP, any excuse to keep the taxpayer dough flowing into the Pentagon's black budgets and Swiss bank accounts. The bottom line is Musveni is essentially spot on; the West still thinks of Africa as its retarded, red-headed stepchild that you really can't abuse enough and anything we do "for" it should be applauded and hosannahed. Forgive me while I puke.

    March 30, 2011 at 9:09 am | Reply
  16. Adam

    This article was a surreal and the comments are even more so. I will not say that everything Museveni said was incorrect, everyone is right about some things. My agreement with him pretty much ends at anything other than the western world is hypocritical at times. Pretty much everything else he said was complete biased garbage of someone who is fearful of suffering a similar fate to Ghadafi, Mubarak, et al. Any person that looks to Stalin and Mao as good for their nations is a complete nut job.

    The simple fact is Ghadafi is crazy and should have stepped down like Mubarak. Museveni has shown himself to be extremely misguided and most likely needs to step down as well, but I'm sure he won't. This article was nothing more than a propaganda piece designed to prevent uprisings and western involvement in Museveni's country.

    March 30, 2011 at 9:52 am | Reply
  17. Maria Ashot

    What is most remarkable about this text is that at no point does it ever occur to the Ugandan author that MQ might not in fact be sincere - in any of his actions or utterances. Sometimes, when we know someone personally, especially over long periods of time, we cannot help but project our own better qualities onto them, and impute to them our own motivations. All that MQ's actions have ever exhibited, to someone looking on from the outside, is extreme selfishness yoked to opportunism and an ambition equal to Napoleon's (although less intelligent). I would caution the Ugandan President not to fall into the trap of imagining that providing MQ with a safe place to retreat (for example, to Uganda) might not cause a host of new problems to follow with MQ, into Uganda - except that, frankly, I can see no reason to warn or counsel anyone who seeks to assist, in any way, a man who has looked calmly upon the rape, torture and dismemberment of young girls, women and children (not to mention captive old men), as if these were ever acceptable. Go ahead, offer him a refuge - and earn all that follows therefrom.

    March 30, 2011 at 10:22 am | Reply
  18. israel

    The man is simply warning the West be very careful about Libya.You cannot drop Democracy from several kilometers from the sky through bombs.I have a feeling Libya would be the next Afghanistan and America would waste money and men there.

    March 30, 2011 at 12:40 pm | Reply
  19. Anton

    BRAVO, Museveni!

    March 30, 2011 at 1:28 pm | Reply
  20. elias kavakure

    HMuseveni himself is a hypocrite . He is talking about respecting other countries sovereinty by not interfering in others internal affairs while he himself does not . in 1996 his country invaded congo (ex zaire ) and rooted congo of its minerals . in 1990 his army participated and backed the rebels that invaded rwanda . It is good for Museveni to preach what he does and stop judging others .

    March 30, 2011 at 4:48 pm | Reply
  21. davis

    The real issue here is the promotion of a propagated idea of governing called "Democracy". The west believes without a doubt that democracy comes from heaven, and anything not democracy is a "sin" and therefore, sinners need to repent and turn to true gospel of democracy. Like crusaders they will use force and conquer in that spirit. 'By that sign i conquer," i believe still echoes in many western politicians. Can you imagine going to school and all you study is the best of democracy ideals and the worst of other forms. Disgusting. Well, for the last fifty years democracy has caused more wars and death than other forms of governing. Hitler was a good child of democracy though many try to disown him. Recently Hamas has joined the ranks. The point here is democracy is not freedom. We should not impose our thinking unto others. I believe Socrates would be embarrassed by how tyrannies within the democratic movement have stunted the growth of freedom in many other parts of the world.

    March 30, 2011 at 6:45 pm | Reply
  22. davis

    I am starting to question the legitimacy of ideal of "democracy". I am a Christian and throughout the bible i see no democracy. I see leadership and authority. Jesus was not elected yet we all accept Him. I have heard of no such a thing as elections in Heaven to vote on the next God or angels. If there is, i would like to know. Maybe, democracy is from hell. Think about it. It is where demons/fallen angels scramble, compete and fight for recognition, power and dominance. They fight against each other. Is it that what we do here on earth? It is utter confusion. However, on the opposite side is harmony, i have never heard of 'love' fighting against 'patience'. 'Oh, i am so hurt because of your patience." Imagine that!! Imagine more, that the west is doing it's best to promote this confusion worldwide. Welcome to hell on earth, maybe without real fire.

    March 30, 2011 at 7:12 pm | Reply
  23. Ray

    Just look at the Capital City of Uganda and tell me just what the hell does their President see when he drive his dumb ass through the city??? Its stupid to say the rubbish about the USA but when President Bush visited a few years ago or Clinton you Museveni was kissing their ass!!!! You closed the whole dam country down if you want to talk rubbish first clean up your own mess of a country and finally, do not show the world your double standards by kissing the ass of the one who behind the scene you make deals with!

    Yeah! we have double standards and we should do you idiots think African do not have double and triple standards-at least in USA we take care of our own in spite of all pros/cons but leaders in most of Africa have been there for life and still nothing is done for the People!

    March 31, 2011 at 9:26 am | Reply
  24. Abura. A

    President Museveni is right about this Liyan thing. The destruction of Libya must stop. Liyans should work out a way to come out of this. The West should stop arrogating themselves the role of chosing leaders for Africa.

    April 1, 2011 at 2:25 am | Reply
  25. Kagiso

    Just 2 years back Israel massacred thousands of Palestians and Leabanese by air raids. flattening half of Gaza and Beruit. All we got from the West was that they were ready to veto any resolution intended to halt the crimes. I am sceptical of their motives in Lybia.

    April 1, 2011 at 6:57 am | Reply
  26. Kodjoe

    Well said Mr.President.
    Dialogue was the only way out of the Libya crisis.

    April 2, 2011 at 4:37 pm | Reply
  27. Alex beiber

    I believe that Gadaffi is a very intelligent man, he is doing this purposely to divert the attention of the french british and the americans into Libya while his allies are busy plotting war on Israel and other nations and all. I certainly don't feel that he is stupid to have his own nation destroyed off.

    April 2, 2011 at 5:19 pm | Reply
  28. taher mohammed

    You are calling a Brutal Dictator a Nationalist...nationalism is looking after your people and not shooting them to preserve the undemocratic status qua of this dictator..the outcome of all this i hope no Bloody Africans in Libya anymore whom are all criminals besides of course our independence from an Israeli Puppet

    April 3, 2011 at 8:13 am | Reply
  29. Larry Kegel (USAMY)

    We have to get rid of all the Dictators of the Regent and help the People make a Democratic Countries like They have in Israel!!! The United States hasn't gotten it right yet either...

    April 3, 2011 at 11:10 am | Reply
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